In October 2017, dancers wove their way throughout MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) bringing movement and beauty to patients, staff, caregivers and medical providers for the first ever Day of Dance in Healthcare. The Day of Dance in Healthcare consisted of a traveling movement choir flowing through the hospital followed by noontime dance performances in the Lombardi Atrium. The Day of Dance proved especially powerful as dancers of different demographics meandered through the hospital.
Keira Hart-Mendoza directed the Movement Choir with assistance from Alison Waldman. Together, they brought 6 dancers from Keira’s company, Uprooted Dance, as well as another 6 from the general dance community. We were thrilled to have Deborah Riley, retired co-director of Dance Place as one of the Movement Choir participants. AHP musician, Anthony Hyatt, was the “pied piper” of the group, leading the dancers through the hospital with the soothing sounds from his violin.
The Movement Choir began at 10am with the dancers entering the Lombardi Atrium. For the next two hours, they snaked down halls, up stairwells, through clinics and units and waiting areas. Here are two quotes (one from a patient and one from a staff member) expressing their reactions:
“I am new to the Lombardi Center. I visited it as a patient for the second time on October 11. While I was there a wonderful violinist and a half dozen women moving in sync came out and performed in the waiting area, where I had been for more than three hours. I LOVED it. I can't thank you enough for the wonderful offering. I hope to see more on future visits. Thanks to you and all who perform in your programs.” - patient
“I wanted to thank you for the “Day of Dance” at MGUH. What a beautiful expression of dance to promote healing in the spirit of cura personalis (treatment of the whole person). I loved the freedom and rhythmic movement. It was an inspiring performance!” - staff member
Following the Movement Choir, from 12:30-2pm, Keira Hart Mendoza’s Uprooted Dance company performed two pieces in the atrium. In addition, Keira premiered a new solo work based on the “Ready to Move” program called, “Stretch.” Katie Harris Banks performed a piece choreographed by Ilana Silverstein, with Arts and Humanities Program artists-in-residence, cellist, Martha Vance, providing the music. More than 50 staff and patients came to see the performance in the Lombardi Atrium and the reviews were terrific. People were happy to see so much beauty, grace and energy brought directly into the hospital.
The Day of Dance in Healthcare 2017 features choreography by Artists-in-Residence Keira Hart-Mendoza and Alison Waldman, as well as former Artist-in-Residence Ilana Silverstein, with special guests from UpRooted Dance.